When I leave the house without my ipod, whether or not I intended to, I often have a moment of panic.
Not because my day will be unmusical as a result. On the contrary, there is a constant barrage of cacophonic sound around me all the time, whether citified or countryside. No, the panic stems from the fact that without my buffer, I am trapped within the social mechanisms of everyday existence.
Granted, I enjoy putting my life to music. It’s much easier to believe that one is the centre of the universe when there are musical numbers springing forth from everystreet corner, as there are in all those films I grew up watching with excitement and expectation that one day my life would reflect these colorful dance routines. The way that people across the street keep pace with whatever beat is playing, the way that birds circle in time with an orchestral movement. It all allows me to dwell in a place that is under my charge, my control. Without the constant music, safely ensconced within my noise cancelling headphones, I am at the mercy of a world that does what it will, without my input.
If I am wearing headphones, suddenly I am lost in a sea of me and only me. I am not required to make contact with anyone or anything I see. It is up to me to have an awareness of what happens around me to the extent that I must be more alert than if I was interactive. I can’t hear a horn honk, it’s up to me to be hyperware when crossing the street. All of this adds to the experience, even while it takes away in other respects. I don’t have to acknowledge anyone’s existence and they must respect that because I am locked into a world of my own choosing. That doesn’t always happen, sometimes people will barge in, determined to acquire whatever information it is that they seek, information they believe I have, sometimes oblivious to the fact that I’ve tuned myself to a completely different frequency than that of ‘man on the street.’
But suddenly the obligatory eye contact or the more usual eye avoidance is not even an issue. If I smile while walking, it’s not construed as the look of a crazy person (because who just smiles to themselves while they’re walking down the street alone? Crazy people, obviously.) it’s probably in concert with a song I’m listening to that makes me think of happy times.
The downside to this, besides the obvious detriment to social interaction, is that a lot of the time I’m using the music to transport me someplace I’d rather be, someplace I’ve been before, someplace I’m going to be. None of which is either here or now. Once again, back to the cycle of projecting into the future or dwelling on the past without experiencing the present, albeit rarely.
As a result, I’ve left the house twice in the past two days(amazing!) because of a need for lightbulbs, swimming pool schedule, a cutting board, pay off library fines, groceries, other tidbits that make urban living more pleasant and expensive. Both times, I made a concentrated effort not to take my ipod with me. Partly in order to actually experience the walk for what it is, a stroll through a bustling neighborhood in the first throes (perhaps) of summer. Partly because I haven’t updated my playlist to something befitting a wander down commercial drive.
But Trish, you say, if the songs on the mp3 player are from your collection, then obviously you like them. Where’s the harm in going for a walk with what’s already there? That, my darlings, is a post for another time. But really, does something like that need explaining? Someone asked me once, why do I have soooo much music? Is it really necessary? Yes. Do we like to wear the same clothes every day? Eat the same food? Drink the same tea? Hells no. This morning I had brazilian baia tea (which is made by Twinings and not sold in canada for some ungodly reason, especially since I just drank the last of what I had this morning and may just have to return to Costa Rica for more), tomorrow it might be vanilla honeybush. Today it was Wolf Parade on the stereo, tomorrow might be the National. Moods change, music suits that purpose, as does tea, clothes and even wigs. How silly would it be to but 8 wigs of the same hairstyle and color? Much too silly for this silly thing.
Back in the city again. It’s only fitting that my first blahg should reflect that. There will be more to come darlings, especially since I have much in the way of time on my hands, and much in the way of thoughts in my head, regardless of how silly and rambly they be.
Until the next.